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So everyone in the house has gotten a new mattress, and your child is sleeping on an old toddler mattress? Maybe a futon? Stop.

Sleep is just as vital for your child as it is for you, and the quality of mattress can be a significant determiner of how rested your child is. Many online companies that are part of the mattress revolution also make smaller sized mattresses and twins for your kids. Let’s get them off that old mattress and onto a new sleep life.

We’ve put together a list of our favorite mattresses for kids. Plus, we’ve answered a few questions you might have about how to choose one. Let’s take a look.

Why Should I Buy A Mattress For My Child?

Sleep is a huge part of your child’s life. The Sleep Foundation recommends that preschool-age children get between 10 and 13 hours of sleep each night while elementary up to age 13 should get between 9 and 11 hours. That’s a lot of time sleeping.

Mattresses should be supportive and comfortable for kids. Children have the same types of pressure points that adults do on their shoulders and hips. A misaligned spine can cause growth problems later on.

A quality mattress can last anywhere from eight to possibly 12 years or more. Your child needs space to grow, so you aren’t replacing the mattress every year.

What Should I Look For?

Your child is a lot like you. He or she has sleep preferences, positions, and requires support and contouring. Let’s explore all the components together.

Support

Your child’s growing body needs a supportive mattress. Mattresses that aren’t supportive may cause serious issues in the future. A supportive mattress keeps the spine aligned throughout the night. In the short term, your child shouldn’t wake up with aches and pains in the morning from a misaligned spine and neck. In the long term, your child shouldn’t experience any long-term physical effects of having a misaligned spine each night.

If a child isn’t supported correctly it can cause issues with the spine itself, but also lack of sleep can cause improper growth that will impact them through their adulthood.

Contouring And Comfort

If your child is too young to identify their own sleep patterns, a mattress with combination support may be appropriate. This allows them to change positions throughout the night without losing any of their support.

Old styles of mattresses used a single layer, usually coils or springs, of support without much to transition the body to that support layer. As a result, the body conformed to the surface of the mattress rather than the other way around. Very uncomfortable.

Now, mattresses use comfort layers on top of the support layers to help relieve pressure. The contouring layer allows broader parts to sink further into the mattress while filling in gaps around the torso and lower back. This eases pressure but allows your spine to remain straight.

Children sometimes need a slightly softer mattress because their lightweights don’t sink far enough into the contouring layers. A medium mattress is a good option for growing into, especially one with pillow top materials or other soft and comfortable tops.

If your child is older, he or she might be able to identify sleep patterns. If you know your child’s primary sleep position, you can choose a mattress that more closely fits how they like to sleep. Stomach sleepers need very firm mattresses to keep the spine aligned while back sleepers need a firm but contouring mattress so that the spine stays straight, but gaps in the lower lumbar region don’t cause compression.

Side sleepers need a slightly softer mattress so that shoulders and hips sink further into the contouring layers to relieve pressure. The support layers should still be medium to medium firm so that your child’s growing body has proper alignment.

Edge Support

Kids who toss and turn or change positions frequently should have proper edge support. The mattress shouldn’t show too much compression towards the edges because this can prevent your child from using the entire surface to sleep and cause some issues with pressure points.

Edge support keeps your child in the correct sleeping position even when they’re towards the sides. Reinforced edges have the same amount of support, so your child never goes tumbling off in the night because of a sinking edge.

Temperature

If your child frequently complains of being hot, they may need some temperature regulation in a mattress. Comfort materials should be breathable so that airflow is maximized near the skin. Some mattresses use unique materials such as phase change fabrics or gel-infused foams to actively conduct heat away from the body and return the mattress to ambient room temperature more quickly.

Materials

It might be necessary for you to have materials that are both eco-friendly and hypoallergenic. If your child suffers from allergies, latex is an excellent alternative to some petroleum-based foams. Look for mattresses certified by CertiPur-US. This certification means that the mattress doesn’t produce harmful off-gassing and uses naturally derived foams and other materials rather than PVC or other industrial components.

Noise

Some children are noise sensitive. Many innerspring mattresses cause some noise when a child moves around. To alleviate this noise, look for individually pocketed springs sandwiched between layers of foam to reduce motion and dampen the sound.

Memory foam mattresses produce no noise, so if your child is particularly sensitive, this might be the right choice. The support layer is made of fiber rather than steel coils, so there’s nothing to move around and squeak.

Best Mattresses For Kids

Here are our top picks for the perfect mattress for your child.

Nest Bedding Love & Sleep – Best Overall

Nest

Nest Bedding is part of the overall mattress revolution. They’re a direct-to-consumer mattress brand with all memory foam, all latex, or hybrid options with either memory foam or latex. They’ve created a mattress specifically for your child’s first big kid bed that’s a two-layer memory foam mattress designed for their small frames.

It’s seven inches in depth, so you can also use it on shallower depths of a base such as bunk beds and many foundations made explicitly for kid’s furniture. It also might make it easier for young kids to get into the bed.

It’s one of the first mattresses-in-a-box solutions specifically for kids. The top layer is soft Energex memory foam, a fluffy type of foam with excellent breathability. The support layer is five-inch dense support foam with reinforced edges. It’s certified by CentriPur-US as having no chemical barrier or anything toxic. It comes in twin, twin XL, and full sizes.

They also have all latex options and both memory foam and latex hybrid options if you’d rather something more supportive or responsive. These will be more expensive (sometimes significantly more expensive) than the Big Kid’s Bed.

Nest bedding comes with a lifetime warranty against mattress defects. You want to make sure that the mattress is adequately supported so that you don’t accidentally void the warranty. You can try out mattresses for 100 nights. If your child doesn’t adjust after 30 nights, you can return the mattress for a full refund.

The mattress comes compressed into a box. Open the box and carefully tear the plastic (never cut or you might accidentally hit your mattress) away from the mattress to allow it to re-inflate. After a few hours, your bed is ready to use.

Nectar – Runner-Up

Nectar is genuinely a big kids bed. In fact, it’s the same mattress you would have if you invested in Nectar too. It’s great for kids who sleep hot or older kids who need a fully supportive, fully comfortable bed.

It uses a Tencel cover that wicks moisture and heat away from the body faster than cotton would. The next two layers are contouring layers that allow broader sections of the body to sink further into the mattress while filling in gaps around the torso. Both are gel-infused to work with the Tencel cooling cover, and one is quilted, so it feels a little bouncier than standard memory foam.

The next layer is adaptive memory foam that applies pressure where your child needs support and helps ease the body to the support layer. The support foam is dense and provides excellent edge support and pushes back to keep the spine aligned.

Nectar has one of the best sleep trials on the market at 365 days. Your child should sleep on his or her new mattress for at least 30 days before deciding if it’s the right one. This gives your child time to adjust to the bed and develop more healthy sleep habits as the mattress breaks in.

Nectar covers your mattress with a lifetime warranty against defects. Make sure the mattress is adequately supported so that you don’t accidentally void the warranty.

It’s CertiPur-US certified, so it produces no harmful off-gassing and doesn’t use any ozone depleters.

The mattress comes compressed in a box, so remove it and gently tear the plastic away to re-inflate it. It’s ready in a few hours. It comes in all the sizes, but we recommend the twin for elementary age children and the full for older children and teenagers.

It’s a more significant investment than the Nest by a few hundred dollars, but if you want a bed to transition your older child to adulthood, this one might work.  It does offer a payment plan if that helps you realize your goal.

Honorable Mentions

Here are a few other ideas based on specific criteria.

Casper – Best Memory Foam

If your child’s sleep situation needs a complete overhaul, Casper has a full line of accessories that are meant to complement their mattresses.

Their basic model mattress is the original Casper. It uses zoned support foam plus dense support foam in four layers of contouring and support. The twin model is just under $600. There’s also a three-layer Essential mattress that starts at $350 and a more elaborate Wave model using five cooling layers that starts at just under $1100.

We recommend the Essential because it has everything your child needs for both contour and support. If you have a child who is larger than average, the original Casper might be a better option for increased support and firmness.

The company has a full range of accessories including pillows, sheets, sheet protectors, frames, and even a bed for Sparky to match. You can purchase all the accessories along with the mattress and check out as usual.

Casper is covered by a limited 10-year warranty against mattress defects. You have 100 nights for your child to try out the mattress before deciding if it’s right for you. The company asks that your child sleep on the mattress for a minimum of 30 nights to allow the mattress to break in and your child’s body to adjust.

The mattress comes compressed in a box. Unpack it and tear away the plastic to allow it to re-inflate for a few hours before using. After a few hours, it will be just like it was before it was compressed.

Tuft And Needle – Most Affordable

If you’re already in the market for a mattress and thinking about upgrading your child’s as well, Tuft and Needle’s mattresses are budget options for the whole family.

The original Tuft and Needle uses two simple layers. The first layer is a soft contouring layer that allows the body to sink where it needs to and fills in gaps where it doesn’t. The bottom layer is a dense support layer that provides medium firm support to keep the spine aligned.

It comes in all standard sizes with none of the sizes costing more than $700. Tuft and Needle ships mattresses compressed in boxes. When yours arrives at your door, just unpack and tear the plastic away gently to reinflate.

You’re covered by a 10-year limited warranty against mattress defects, and you have 100 nights to try the mattress out to see if it’s the right one for your child. Make sure your child sleeps on it for at least 30 nights to allow the mattress to break in and let your child adjust.

Nuvanna – Most Comfortable

Nuvanna’s three-layer mattress is specially engineered to help aid recovery time for serious athletes. If your child hustles from one sports season to the next, it might be a good idea to invest in a mattress that makes their twilight hours more comfortable.

The top layer uses phase-changing technology to help conduct heat away from the body. The second layer is a contouring and motion control layer that helps reduce motion transfer and increase edge support. The third layer is a dense support layer that provides targeted support and keeps the spine aligned.

You’re covered by a ten-year mattress defect warranty. Make sure the mattress is adequately supported so that you don’t accidentally void the warranty. You also have a 100-night sleep trial to figure out if it’s the right one for your child. Make sure you sleep on the mattress for at least 30 nights to allow the mattress to adjust.

The mattress comes compressed in a box and doesn’t require delivery times. When it arrives, unpack it and gently peel away the plastic. The mattress will slowly inflate and should be ready for your child to sleep on in a few hours.

It’s a little more expensive with a twin starting around $550 and the twin rounding out at $600. However, its advanced support layer might make it easier for your child to recover from particularly busy seasons or grueling practice sessions and sleep in perfect comfort.

Our Final Thoughts

We love the Nest’s Big Kid Bed option for those who need some versatility in where they put a mattress. It’s made to suit kids and their growing bodies, but it’s versatile enough to go into bunk beds or other frames that don’t accommodate deep mattresses.

It’s a good starter bed if your child is younger but has grown out of the toddler bed. If you’re looking for a bed that mimics the type of bed you have, there are a few other low-cost options on the list that both support and contour to your child’s growing body.

Your child’s sleep is a vital part of their growing process and not just for mood. Making sleep a priority now helps them build better habits for the future when they have to control themselves.

A mattress is an excellent place to start to help them improve their sleep habits and also aid growth and development.

Are you investing in a mattress that will grow with your child now that they’re out of a toddler bed or is your bigger kid ready for a full-sized bed? Let us know how your kid is doing with sleep in the comments below.

Tim

Remember how your parents told you that you were going to sleep your life away? Well that would be perfectly fine with Tim. He's been in search of the most comfortable nights sleep for years and shares his findings with any willing ear.

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